Rescuers on dinghys attempeted to pull the boat away from the rock wall during the salvage.
Rescuers on dinghys attempeted to pull the boat away from the rock wall during the salvage.

Ferry rescues yacht from rocks

A CRUISE Whitsundays ferry full of passengers en route to Daydream and Hamilton Islands delayed its journey for 40 minutes to help rescue maxi yacht Matador near Abel Point Marina last week.

The ferry was leaving the Abel Point wharf at 8am on Monday December 27 when skipper Chris Barton noticed the 29.4m sailing boat was very close to smashing into the rock wall at the marina.

Captain Barton said he believed the boat had dragged its anchor overnight with the strong winds which caused it to drift close to the rocks.

“I could see that if I didn't help them, their boat was going to get smashed up against the rocks,” he said.

“I had a boat full of people but I think it would have been very un-Australian of me to have driven away and have it smashed up on the rocks.”

There were already people on four small dinghies trying to pull the boat away from the wall but the strength of the ferry was needed.

Some passengers with marine experience helped with the rescue while other passengers watched.

Capt Barton said no-one missed scheduled flights or was disrupted by the rescue too much.

The Matador cost more than US$20 million to be designed and built in 1991.

It competed in 52 races, eight regattas and two maxi world championships and is now a two-day adventure sailing boat.


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